Dec. 4, 2003
We treated DC's parents to a night in a fancy Kansas City hotel to celebrate their 55th anniversary a bit prematurely. Her parents don't drink, but we took them to a revolving bar called Skies to see the Kansas City skyline.
The nieces from Neosho were there but also missing, at least the little girls who used to play Whiffle ball with me and the little girls DC shackled with cheap bracelets. They are big girls now deep into the drama of college, mooning over Johnny Depp's cracked out "Pirates of the Caribbean" feyness and, curiously to me, already obliquely thinking about marriage.
Maybe the good health of their parents' and their grandparents' own marriages is to blame.
When she graduates in May, the oldest may stay in Kansas City or might move to Seattle. A degree in dental hygiene is a ticket to ride these days. Danica has told her mother she isn't coming back to Neosho unless she's married.
She won't lack for proposals. In a department store Saturday, a nice-looking shoe salesman let her know he would be getting off work at 5. Danica took her new shoes and didn't look back.
She loves retro clothing and furnishings, things that were new when her parents were young. Her apartment is a shrine to the Beatles. Pictures of the Fab Four cover most of the walls. A painting of them sits over the mantle. Almost everybody seems to discover the Beatles at some point in their life. Danica got there early and enthusiastically.
The youngest niece, Darci, is majoring in theater. For high school graduation last spring, she and her boyfriend registered their pretend wedding at a department store. When DC heard, she ordered them a nice piece of china.
Darci read us a school paper she wrote about the "semi-eccentric aunt" who hauled lumber out to the cabin on the Castor River last Labor Day for the purpose of building a stage in the woods. That aunt is DC, who laughed until she teared-up at being called semi-eccentric. She likes the idea that the nieces think of her as unique.
The rest of us laughed that Darci felt the need to gild DC's idiosyncrasies with a "semi."
Devon, the middle niece, may have the biggest fascination with marriage. On a recent Friday night with nothing to do, she went to a huge bridal shop to try on wedding gowns. She showed us the photographic evidence.
Devon even went back to the same shop a second time and took her mother and Darci. They're all in on it.
If Devon's boyfriend knew about the pilgrimages to the bridal shops, he'd probably run away. If she had a boyfriend.
She is a bright business major who plans her life carefully. She is shooting for an internship at Disney World next summer. We tease that she'll be bagging French fries at a fast food restaurant on the property, but maybe Disney World really isn't like the real world.
Marriage contains a charge for females we males don't feel. Most begin planning their weddings when they are little girls. But what is wrong with planning to be in love?
Love is all there is, the Beatles said.
Love makes semi-eccentrics of us all.
Sam Blackwell is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.